Publications by authors named "Mikael Heglind"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Foxc2 is essential for podocyte function.

Physiol Rep 2019 05;7(9):e14083

Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Institute of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Foxc2 is one of the earliest podocyte markers during glomerular development. To circumvent embryonic lethal effects of global deletion of Foxc2, and to specifically investigate the role of Foxc2 in podocytes, we generated mice with a podocyte-specific Foxc2 deletion. Mice carrying the homozygous deletion developed early proteinuria which progressed rapidly into end stage kidney failure and death around postnatal day 10. Conditional loss of Foxc2 in podocytes caused typical characteristics of podocyte injury, such as podocyte foot process effacement and podocyte microvillus transformation, probably caused by disruption of the slit diaphragm. These effects were accompanied by a redistribution of several proteins known to be necessary for correct podocyte structure. One target gene that showed reduced glomerular expression was Nrp1, the gene encoding neuropilin 1, a protein that has been linked to diabetic nephropathy and proteinuria. We could show that NRP1 was regulated by Foxc2 in vitro, but podocyte-specific ablation of Nrp1 in mice did not generate any phenotype in terms of proteinuria, suggesting that the gene might have more important roles in endothelial cells than in podocytes. Taken together, this study highlights a critical role for Foxc2 as an important gene for podocyte function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14814/phy2.14083DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6503019PMC
May 2019

FOXK1 and FOXK2 regulate aerobic glycolysis.

Nature 2019 02 30;566(7743):279-283. Epub 2019 Jan 30.

Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Adaptation to the environment and extraction of energy are essential for survival. Some species have found niches and specialized in using a particular source of energy, whereas others-including humans and several other mammals-have developed a high degree of flexibility. A lot is known about the general metabolic fates of different substrates but we still lack a detailed mechanistic understanding of how cells adapt in their use of basic nutrients. Here we show that the closely related fasting/starvation-induced forkhead transcription factors FOXK1 and FOXK2 induce aerobic glycolysis by upregulating the enzymatic machinery required for this (for example, hexokinase-2, phosphofructokinase, pyruvate kinase, and lactate dehydrogenase), while at the same time suppressing further oxidation of pyruvate in the mitochondria by increasing the activity of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinases 1 and 4. Together with suppression of the catalytic subunit of pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphatase 1 this leads to increased phosphorylation of the E1α regulatory subunit of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, which in turn inhibits further oxidation of pyruvate in the mitochondria-instead, pyruvate is reduced to lactate. Suppression of FOXK1 and FOXK2 induce the opposite phenotype. Both in vitro and in vivo experiments, including studies of primary human cells, show how FOXK1 and/or FOXK2 are likely to act as important regulators that reprogram cellular metabolism to induce aerobic glycolysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-0900-5DOI Listing
February 2019

Acidosis and Deafness in Patients with Recessive Mutations in FOXI1.

J Am Soc Nephrol 2018 03 14;29(3):1041-1048. Epub 2017 Dec 14.

Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Maintenance of the composition of inner ear fluid and regulation of electrolytes and acid-base homeostasis in the collecting duct system of the kidney require an overlapping set of membrane transport proteins regulated by the forkhead transcription factor FOXI1. In two unrelated consanguineous families, we identified three patients with novel homozygous missense mutations in (p.L146F and p.R213P) predicted to affect the highly conserved DNA binding domain. Patients presented with early-onset sensorineural deafness and distal renal tubular acidosis. In cultured cells, the mutations reduced the DNA binding affinity of FOXI1, which hence, failed to adequately activate genes crucial for normal inner ear function and acid-base regulation in the kidney. A substantial proportion of patients with a clinical diagnosis of inherited distal renal tubular acidosis has no identified causative mutations in currently known disease genes. Our data suggest that recessive mutations in FOXI1 can explain the disease in a subset of these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2017080840DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5827603PMC
March 2018

Metformin treatment significantly enhances intestinal glucose uptake in patients with type 2 diabetes: Results from a randomized clinical trial.

Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2017 Sep 20;131:208-216. Epub 2017 Jul 20.

Turku PET Centre, University of Turku, Turku, Finland; Department of Endocrinology, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland. Electronic address:

Aims: Metformin therapy is associated with diffuse intestinal F-fluoro-deoxyglucose (FDG) accumulation in clinical diagnostics using routine FDG-PET imaging. We aimed to study whether metformin induced glucose uptake in intestine is associated with the improved glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Therefore, we compared the effects of metformin and rosiglitazone on intestinal glucose metabolism in patients with type 2 diabetes in a randomized placebo controlled clinical trial, and further, to understand the underlying mechanism, evaluated the effect of metformin in rats.

Methods: Forty-one patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were randomized to metformin (1g, b.i.d), rosiglitazone (4mg, b.i.d), or placebo in a 26-week double-blind trial. Tissue specific intestinal glucose uptake was measured before and after the treatment period using FDG-PET during euglycemic hyperinsulinemia. In addition, rats were treated with metformin or vehicle for 12weeks, and intestinal FDG uptake was measured in vivo and with autoradiography.

Results: Glucose uptake increased 2-fold in the small intestine and 3-fold in the colon for the metformin group and associated with improved glycemic control. Rosiglitazone increased only slightly intestinal glucose uptake. In rodents, metformin treatment enhanced intestinal FDG retention (P=0.002), which was localized in the mucosal enterocytes of the small intestine.

Conclusions: Metformin treatment significantly enhances intestinal glucose uptake from the circulation of patients with type 2 diabetes. This intestine-specific effect is associated with improved glycemic control and localized to mucosal layer. These human findings demonstrate directs effect of metformin on intestinal metabolism and elucidate the actions of metformin. Clinical trial number NCT02526615.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.diabres.2017.07.015DOI Listing
September 2017

Foxc2 influences alveolar epithelial cell differentiation during lung development.

Dev Growth Differ 2017 Aug 4;59(6):501-514. Epub 2017 Jul 4.

First Department of Medicine, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.

FOXC2, a forkhead transcriptional factor, is a candidate gene for congenital heart diseases and lymphedema-distichiasis syndrome and yellow nail syndrome; however, there are no reports on Foxc2 and the development of the lung. We have identified lung abnormalities in Foxc2-knockout embryos during investigation of cardiac development. The aim of this study was to clarify the morphological characteristics during lung development using ICR-Foxc2 knockout lungs. Mutant fetuses at embryonic days 10.5-18.5 were obtained from mating of Foxc2 mice and then analyzed. Notably, Foxc2-knockout lungs appeared parenchymatous and much smaller than those of the wild-type littermates. In the Foxc2 knockout lungs, the capillary beds remained distant from the alveolar epithelium until the late stages, the number of type2 alveolar cells per alveolar progenitor cell was lower and the type1 alveolar cells were thicker in Foxc2 knockout mice. In contrast, Foxc2 expression was only detected in the mesenchyme of the lung buds at E10.5, and it disappeared at E11.5 in Foxc2-LacZ knockin mice. Furthermore, the expression of Lef1 was significantly inhibited in E11.5 lungs. All of these results suggest that the abnormalities in Foxc2 knockout mice may involve maldifferentiation of alveolar epithelial cells and capillary vessel endothelial-alveolar epithelial approach as well as lymph vessel malformation. This is the first report about relationship between Foxc2 and lung development. This animal model might provide an important clue for elucidating the mechanism of lung development and the cause of respiratory diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/dgd.12368DOI Listing
August 2017

A randomized trial of cold-exposure on energy expenditure and supraclavicular brown adipose tissue volume in humans.

Metabolism 2016 Jun 1;65(6):926-34. Epub 2016 Apr 1.

Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Linköping University. Electronic address:

Objective: To study if repeated cold-exposure increases metabolic rate and/or brown adipose tissue (BAT) volume in humans when compared with avoiding to freeze.

Design: Randomized, open, parallel-group trial.

Methods: Healthy non-selected participants were randomized to achieve cold-exposure 1hour/day, or to avoid any sense of feeling cold, for 6weeks. Metabolic rate (MR) was measured by indirect calorimetry before and after acute cold-exposure with cold vests and ingestion of cold water. The BAT volumes in the supraclavicular region were measured with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Results: Twenty-eight participants were recruited, 12 were allocated to controls and 16 to cold-exposure. Two participants in the cold group dropped out and one was excluded. Both the non-stimulated and the cold-stimulated MR were lowered within the group randomized to avoid cold (MR at room temperature from 1841±199 kCal/24h to 1795±213 kCal/24h, p=0.047 cold-activated MR from 1900±150 kCal/24h to 1793±215 kCal/24h, p=0.028). There was a trend towards increased MR at room temperature following the intervention in the cold-group (p=0.052). The difference between MR changes by the interventions between groups was statistically significant (p=0.008 at room temperature, p=0.032 after cold-activation). In an on-treatment analysis after exclusion of two participants that reported ≥8days without cold-exposure, supraclavicular BAT volume had increased in the cold-exposure group (from 0.0175±0.015l to 0.0216±0.014l, p=0.049).

Conclusions: We found evidence for plasticity in metabolic rate by avoiding to freeze compared with cold-exposure in a randomized setting in non-selected humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2016.03.012DOI Listing
June 2016

Presence of brown adipocytes in retroperitoneal fat from patients with benign adrenal tumors: relationship with outdoor temperature.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2013 Oct 6;98(10):4097-104. Epub 2013 Jun 6.

MD, PhD, Department of Medical and Clinical Genetics, Institute of Biomedicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Medicinaregatan 9A, Box 440, SE-40530 Gothenburg, Sweden.

Context: Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a metabolically highly active organ with increased thermogenic activity in rodents exposed to cold temperature. Recently its presence in the cervical adipose tissue of human adults and its association with a favorable metabolic phenotype have been reported.

Objective: The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of retroperitoneal BAT in human adults.

Design: This was an observational cohort study.

Setting: The study was conducted at a tertiary referral hospital.

Patients: Fifty-seven patients who underwent surgery for benign adrenal tumors were included in this study.

Main Outcome Measures: Prevalence of retroperitoneal BAT adjacent to the removed adrenal tumor as determined by uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) protein and mRNA expression was measured.

Results: Using protein and mRNA expression analysis, we detected UCP1 protein in 26 of 57 patients (45.6%) as well as high mRNA expression of genes characteristic for brown adipocytes, independent of the adrenal tumor type. The presence of brown adipocytes within the retroperitoneal fat was associated with a significantly lower outdoor temperature during the month prior to surgery. Importantly, UCP1 expression on both mRNA and protein level was inversely correlated to outdoor temperature, whereas body mass index, sex, age, and diabetes status were not.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that human retroperitoneal adipose tissue can acquire a BAT phenotype, thereby adapting to environmental challenges. These adaptive processes might provide a valuable therapeutic target in the treatment of obesity and insulin resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jc.2012-3535DOI Listing
October 2013

Evidence for two types of brown adipose tissue in humans.

Nat Med 2013 May 21;19(5):631-4. Epub 2013 Apr 21.

Department of Medical and Clinical Genetics, Institute of Biomedicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

The previously observed supraclavicular depot of brown adipose tissue (BAT) in adult humans was commonly believed to be the equivalent of the interscapular thermogenic organ of small mammals. This view was recently disputed on the basis of the demonstration that this depot consists of beige (also called brite) brown adipocytes, a newly identified type of brown adipocyte that is distinct from the classical brown adipocytes that make up the interscapular thermogenic organs of other mammals. A combination of high-resolution imaging techniques and histological and biochemical analyses showed evidence for an anatomically distinguishable interscapular BAT (iBAT) depot in human infants that consists of classical brown adipocytes, a cell type that has so far not been shown to exist in humans. On the basis of these findings, we conclude that infants, similarly to rodents, have the bona fide iBAT thermogenic organ consisting of classical brown adipocytes that is essential for the survival of small mammals in a cold environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.3017DOI Listing
May 2013

Mice with disrupted type I protein kinase A anchoring in T cells resist retrovirus-induced immunodeficiency.

J Immunol 2011 May 23;186(9):5119-30. Epub 2011 Mar 23.

The Biotechnology Center of Oslo, University of Oslo, N-0317 Oslo, Norway.

Type I protein kinase A (PKA) is targeted to the TCR-proximal signaling machinery by the A-kinase anchoring protein ezrin and negatively regulates T cell immune function through activation of the C-terminal Src kinase. RI anchoring disruptor (RIAD) is a high-affinity competitor peptide that specifically displaces type I PKA from A-kinase anchoring proteins. In this study, we disrupted type I PKA anchoring in peripheral T cells by expressing a soluble ezrin fragment with RIAD inserted in place of the endogenous A-kinase binding domain under the lck distal promoter in mice. Peripheral T cells from mice expressing the RIAD fusion protein (RIAD-transgenic mice) displayed augmented basal and TCR-activated signaling, enhanced T cell responsiveness assessed as IL-2 secretion, and reduced sensitivity to PGE(2)- and cAMP-mediated inhibition of T cell function. Hyperactivation of the cAMP-type I PKA pathway is involved in the T cell dysfunction of HIV infection, as well as murine AIDS, a disease model induced by infection of C57BL/6 mice with LP-BM5, a mixture of attenuated murine leukemia viruses. LP-BM5-infected RIAD-transgenic mice resist progression of murine AIDS and have improved viral control. This underscores the cAMP-type I PKA pathway in T cells as a putative target for therapeutic intervention in immunodeficiency diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1100003DOI Listing
May 2011

The adipocyte-expressed forkhead transcription factor Foxc2 regulates metabolism through altered mitochondrial function.

Diabetes 2011 Feb;60(2):427-35

Department of Medical and Clinical Genetics, Institute of Biomedicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Objective: Previous findings demonstrate that enhanced expression of the forkhead transcription factor Foxc2 in adipose tissue leads to a lean and insulin-sensitive phenotype. These findings prompted us to further investigate the role of Foxc2 in the regulation of genes of fundamental importance for metabolism and mitochondrial function.

Research Design And Methods: The effects of Foxc2 on expression of genes involved in mitochondriogenesis and mitochondrial function were assessed by quantitative real-time PCR. The potential of a direct transcriptional regulation of regulated genes was tested in promoter assays, and mitochondrial morphology was investigated by electron microscopy. Mitochondrial function was tested by measuring oxygen consumption and extracellular acidification rates as well as palmitate oxidation.

Results: Enhanced expression of FOXC2 in adipocytes or in cells with no endogenous Foxc2 expression induces mitochondriogenesis and an elongated mitochondrial morphology. Together with increased aerobic metabolic capacity, increased palmitate oxidation, and upregulation of genes encoding respiratory complexes and of brown fat-related genes, Foxc2 also specifically induces mitochondrial fusion genes in adipocytes. Among tested forkhead genes, Foxc2 is unique in its ability to trans-activate the nuclear-encoded mitochondrial transcription factor A (mtTFA/Tfam) gene--a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. In human adipose tissue the expression levels of mtTFA/Tfam and of fusion genes also correlate with that of Foxc2.

Conclusions: We previously showed that a high-calorie diet and insulin induce Foxc2 in adipocytes; the current findings identify a previously unknown role for Foxc2 as an important metabo-regulator of mitochondrial morphology and metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db10-0409DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3028341PMC
February 2011

Overexpression of Foxf2 in adipose tissue is associated with lower levels of IRS1 and decreased glucose uptake in vivo.

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2010 Mar 15;298(3):E548-54. Epub 2009 Dec 15.

Dept. of Medical and Clinical Genetics, Institute of Biomedicine, Univ. of Göteborg, Sweden.

Many members of the forkhead genes family of transcription factors have been implicated as important regulators of metabolism, in particular, glucose homeostasis, e.g., Foxo1, Foxa3, and Foxc2. The purpose of this study was to exploit the possibility that yet unknown members of this gene family play a role in regulating glucose tolerance in adipocytes. We identified Foxf2 in a screen for adipose-expressed forkhead genes. In vivo overexpression of Foxf2 in an adipose tissue-restricted fashion demonstrated that such mice display a significantly induced insulin secretion in response to an intravenous glucose load compared with wild-type littermates. In response to increased Foxf2 expression, insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) mRNA and protein levels are significantly downregulated in adipocytes; however, the ratio of serine vs. tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS1 seems to remain unaffected. Furthermore, adipocytes overexpressing Foxf2 have a significantly lower insulin-mediated glucose uptake compared with wild-type adipocytes. These findings argue that Foxf2 is a previously unrecognized regulator of cellular and systemic whole body glucose tolerance, at least in part, due to lower levels of IRS1. Foxf2 and its downstream target genes can provide new insights with regard to identification of novel therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00395.2009DOI Listing
March 2010

Functional brown adipose tissue in healthy adults.

N Engl J Med 2009 Apr;360(15):1518-25

Turku PET Center, University of Turku, Finland.

Using positron-emission tomography (PET), we found that cold-induced glucose uptake was increased by a factor of 15 in paracervical and supraclavicular adipose tissue in five healthy subjects. We obtained biopsy specimens of this tissue from the first three consecutive subjects and documented messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein levels of the brown-adipocyte marker, uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). Together with morphologic assessment, which showed numerous multilocular, intracellular lipid droplets, and with the results of biochemical analysis, these findings document the presence of substantial amounts of metabolically active brown adipose tissue in healthy adult humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa0808949DOI Listing
April 2009

The forkhead transcription factor Foxi1 is a master regulator of vacuolar H-ATPase proton pump subunits in the inner ear, kidney and epididymis.

PLoS One 2009 13;4(2):e4471. Epub 2009 Feb 13.

Center of Medical Genetics, Institute of Biomedicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.

The vacuolar H(+)-ATPase dependent transport of protons across cytoplasmic membranes in FORE (forkhead related) cells of endolymphatic epithelium in the inner ear, intercalated cells of collecting ducts in the kidney and in narrow and clear cells of epididymis require expression of several subunits that assemble into a functional multimeric proton pump. We demonstrate that expression of four such subunits A1, B1, E2 and a4 all co-localize with the forkhead transcription factor Foxi1 in a subset of epithelial cells at these three locations. In cells, of such epithelia, that lack Foxi1 we fail to identify any expression of A1, B1, E2 and a4 demonstrating an important role for the transcription factor Foxi1 in regulating subunit availability. Promoter reporter experiments, electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) and site directed mutagenesis demonstrate that a Foxi1 expression vector can trans-activate an a4-promoter reporter construct in a dose dependent manner. Furthermore, we demonstrate using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays that Foxi1-dependent activation to a large extent depends on cis-elements at position -561/-547 in the a4 promoter. Thus, we provide evidence that Foxi1 is necessary for expression of at least four subunits in three different epithelia and most likely is a major determinant for proper assembly of a functional vacuolar H(+)-ATPase complex at these locations.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0004471PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2637605PMC
March 2009

Lack of the central nervous system- and neural crest-expressed forkhead gene Foxs1 affects motor function and body weight.

Mol Cell Biol 2005 Jul;25(13):5616-25

Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Göteborg University, Medicinareg. 9A, Box 440, SE 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden.

To gain insight into the expression pattern and functional importance of the forkhead transcription factor Foxs1, we constructed a Foxs1-beta-galactosidase reporter gene "knock-in" (Foxs1beta-gal/beta-gal) mouse, in which the wild-type (wt) Foxs1 allele has been inactivated and replaced by a beta-galactosidase reporter gene. Staining for beta-galactosidase activity reveals an expression pattern encompassing neural crest-derived cells, e.g., cranial and dorsal root ganglia as well as several other cell populations in the central nervous system (CNS), most prominently the internal granule layer of cerebellum. Other sites of expression include the lachrymal gland, outer nuclear layer of retina, enteric ganglion neurons, and a subset of thalamic and hypothalamic nuclei. In the CNS, blood vessel-associated smooth muscle cells and pericytes stain positive for Foxs1. Foxs1beta-gal/beta-gal mice perform significantly better (P < 0.01) on a rotating rod than do wt littermates. We have also noted a lower body weight gain (P < 0.05) in Foxs1beta-gal/lbeta-gal males on a high-fat diet, and we speculate that dorsomedial hypothalamic neurons, expressing Foxs1, could play a role in regulating body weight via regulation of sympathetic outflow. In support of this, we observed increased levels of uncoupling protein 1 mRNA in Foxs1beta-gal/beta-gal mice. This points toward a role for Foxs1 in the integration and processing of neuronal signals of importance for energy turnover and motor function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.25.13.5616-5625.2005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1157007PMC
July 2005

The boundary cap: a source of neural crest stem cells that generate multiple sensory neuron subtypes.

Development 2005 Jun 4;132(11):2623-32. Epub 2005 May 4.

Unit of Molecular Neurobiology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.

The boundary cap (BC) is a transient neural crest-derived group of cells located at the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) that have been shown to differentiate into sensory neurons and glia in vivo. We find that when placed in culture, BC cells self-renew, show multipotency in clonal cultures and express neural crest stem cell (NCSCs) markers. Unlike sciatic nerve NCSCs, the BC-NCSC (bNCSCs) generates sensory neurons upon differentiation. The bNCSCs constitute a common source of cells for functionally diverse types of neurons, as a single bNCSC can give rise to several types of nociceptive and thermoreceptive sensory neurons. Our data suggests that BC cells comprise a source of multipotent sensory specified stem cells that persist throughout embryogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.01852DOI Listing
June 2005